You’ve no doubt heard that positive thinking is the first essential ingredient to success. But more and more researchers are starting to link that old motivational chestnut to hard science. One interpretation of quantum theory, made popular by the film “What the (Bleep) Were They Thinking” and the book “The Biology of Belief” by former cell scientist Bruce Lipton, posits that positive human thoughts actually rearrange the tiniest building blocks of the universe.
So the old adage “You get back what you put out” is gaining scientific backing. And for Lorelei Fenton, a motivational coach and owner of Evolutions By Lorelei in Belle Mead, it’s high time. She has been coaching people in practical ways to reshape their attitudes about life and money for more than a decade, based squarely on the principle that thinking positive thoughts leads to positive results.
On Thursday, December 1, Fenton will present “Seeing Your Own Nose,” a workshop on seeing past your blind spots, at 6 p.m. at Gary & Lenny’s New York Style Deli on Route 1 in Lawrenceville. Cost: a $20 donation to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.
She also will present “Money Does Grow On Trees,” an all-day workshop geared toward eliminating the sneaky, negative thoughts so many carry around about money, on Sunday, December 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn in Somerset. Cost: $250. Call 609-879-1517.
Fenton says that success in the financial realm is often hampered by negative attitudes toward money — attitudes people typically do not know they have. Have you ever caught yourself saying “I don’t have two dimes to rub together?” for instance? Or pulled up to the pump and whined openly about the rise in gas prices?
Believe it or not, says Fenton, this is the kind of stuff that derails us. We don’t realize how negative it is to say or feel these things, nor do we realize the damage it causes. Fenton has noticed, for example, how bad the economy got when all the news was doom and gloom — and how it started to pick up when stories began talking about recovery on the horizon.
Fenton’s approach is something she calls “life creationism,” whereby clients dig into the roots of what’s holding them up and build a new direction based on what they want. Say you’re a procrastinator. You’re essentially looking at the world in front of you and asking “why bother?” — even if you are not doing it consciously. Awareness, then, is the first step. The next is ferreting out the source of those thoughts, and the third is making conscious choices to do and see things in a positive way.
But how does this relate to money? Well, most people without money say several hundred negative things about money in a given week, Fenton says. “I’m not made of money” is one. “Money doesn’t grow on trees” is another. Each of them, Fenton admits, sounds like the right thing to say. These are, after all, maxims meant to convey that money is not just given, but earned and in need of respect.
But these statements are, in fact, negative reinforcements of the idea that money is serious stuff. And if you view money from the negative, Fenton says, you actually are repelling it. Conversely, people with lots of money (and happiness overall) tend to be more positive about what money means and, thereby, attract it. Money, then, does not so much buy happiness as respond to it.
But here’s the catch — just spouting a bunch of platitudes will not work. You have to actually feel that way inside, which is where Fenton’s business comes in.
A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Fenton grew up with “two wonderful people” in her mother and father, but faced her share of negativity from the world outside the home. She earned her bachelor’s in theater from UMass and took herself from Massachusetts to Chicago and New York, got married, and had a family.
About 13 years ago she suddenly had to contend with a loved one battling a substance addiction. She learned quickly that there is nothing anyone (except the addict) can do about an addiction. “You can only do something about yourself,” she says. In other words, you need to find ways to get yourself through it so that you can continue to help the addict.
Fenton got involved with a 12-step recovery program for families, then moved into other therapy areas — health and healing, yoga — before getting into personal growth and development. She returned to school for a master’s in education from the College of New Jersey, where she learned about people’s learning styles; and attended courses at Rutgers that discussed alcohol abuse. During this same time frame she worked in substance abuse prevention.
About 18 months ago Fenton opened Evolutions By Lorelei to meld her glass-all-full approach to the practicalities of recovery and therapy. Having lived through, worked through, and witnessed the effects of self-destruction, Fenton says she has come to understand that behavior usually is tied to a decision someone made a long time ago, often without knowing they made it.
Say, for example, that as a child you saw your father beat your mother. You might think it is somehow your own fault, in which case you will tend toward being an easy victim for others, Fenton says. Or you might identify with your father and think the incident is your mother’s fault, in which case you will tend toward being abusive toward others.
Whichever decision you reach is, Fenton says, “pure, dumb, blind luck.” There is no foolproof indicator of which way you will turn — or whether you will go an entirely different route and seek to head off something like domestic violence. The only consistent thing is that you will pick a path and it will inform your later behaviors, long after you have tucked the trigger incident away.
When it comes to money, we all hear our parents tell us how hard it is to come by and how easy it is to spend. Somewhere along the line, Fenton says, we make decisions about our relationships to money and follow that path unaware until (if we’re lucky) someone points it out. “That’s why they’re called blind spots,” Fenton says. “Because you can’t see them — like the nose on your own face.”
Fenton specializes in unraveling these strands and getting people to recast their perspectives. It’s hard to do on your own, she admits, but it starts with being aware of what comes out of our mouths. Training yourself to believe that you can and will make and handle your money starts with the simple belief that you can and will.
“What you think and say is not only a determining factor in your success — it is the determining factor,” Fenton says. “We all know how we should think. The trick is to actually shift your perspective so that you do think that way.”